Article by: Eric Blumenfeld,
Beerspoke Tours CEO
It's Summer. Everyone's a bit happier, a bit more laid back, and probably a bit more open to the power of suggestion. With that in mind, allow us to suggest some of the good ol' US of A's best beer festivals for 2018!
Vermont Brewers Festival: Burlington, VT -- July 20-21
Everyone in Burlington is happy. That’s just a fact. Access to mountains, lakes, every type of outdoorsy activity. On the other end, indoorsy activities like great shopping, incredible restaurants with locally-sourced food. And on some third end, the most important piece: beer. Everywhere. Some of the most renowned breweries in the world are in or around Burlington. And you can find most of them all at once at the Vermont Brewers Festival. A few out-of-state, northeast breweries are also in attendance to expand your horizons a bit. And you’ll drink it at the waterfront of Lake Champlain looking out at the Adirondacks...combining much of what makes Burlington great.
Michigan Summer Beer Festival: Ypsilanti, MI -- July 27-28
Hosted by the Michigan Brewer's Guild, this summer beer festival showcases the best of what the fantastic Michigan beer scene has to offer...and it does so in a big way. 150 breweries serving over 1,000 tasty craft beers. Sample all of your beers in the delightful riverside setting of Ypsilanti's (aptly named) Riverside Park. If you're looking for lively over lovely, you've got that too, with a variety of local Michigan bands playing throughout the event. And when the festival is over, if you're not ready to pack it in, you're only 20 miles from Ann Arbor, where there are innumerable options for you to continue the festivities, beerwise and otherwise.
Bend Brewfest: Bend, OR -- August 16-18
Bend has 22 breweries. Bend also has a population of only 80,000 people. That’s one brewery for just over 3,600 people...making Bend the city with the most breweries per Capita in the US. So, even if you’re not coming for Bend Brewfest, you’ll be very well served with a wiiiide variety of tasty suds. That said, come for this festival anyway. First off, admission is free...when can you even say that about anything anymore? Next, you’re at a beautiful amphitheater along the Deschutes River, so atmosphere: check. Then, of course, you’ve got access to over 150 craft beers from around the country, including at the XTap area, featuring low production, specialty or experimental beers. So, while you’re here, you’re going to find what you're looking for...guaranteed.
Festival of Dankness: San Diego, CA -- August 25
As we've probably made clear to this point, we're big fans of San Diego. And Modern Times is a brewery to behold when you're there. But if you'd like to pay homage to Modern Times, while also tasting an awesome assortment of beers from their favorite breweries, head to the Festival of Dankness. Modern Times hosts this fest with a waterfront view, and they've curated the list to include only the most original, dankest, juciest juicebombs. And with many of the brewers themselves in attendance, you'll get to cheers their creations right along with them!
Great American Beer Festival: Denver, CO -- September 20-22
JUST under the wire here for Summer, as this premier festival ends on the last day of Summer! The gold standard of American beer festivals, GABF annually represents the largest collection of US beer ever served. Once you're in, you have unlimited access to one-ounce samples of around 4,000 beers, to share with 60,000 of your closest friends (the approximate attendance over the 3 day festival). Beyond that, there are beer presentations, panels, discussions and, of course, the competitions pitting beer against beer. And if that wasn't enough, it coincides with Denver Beer Fest, where you'll find beer events at breweries, bars, brewpubs, restaurants, etc. all week long!
And one to consider for next year...even though it's not technically in the Summer.
SAVOR: Washington, DC -- Early June
We realized this heads up was going to come after this year's event but, again, while it's not actually summer, it's got to be included...now you've got something to look forward to for 2019! SAVOR is a wonderfully unique experience that showcases 90 American craft breweries each pouring two of their best brews. Add to this that it's held in DC's gorgeous and iconic National Building Museum to class up the event. And add to THIS that the event is also a food pairing, serving up delightful cuisine that's been perfectly matched with your beer. If your inner beer geek is also a bit of a foodie, you've found your perfect event.